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Google’s growth since its IPO is simply amazing

Google's Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt and Larry Page
AP Photo/Ben Margot
Back in the desktop web search heyday.
By Dan Frommer
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Google went public 10 years ago today.

And it was obvious even then that Google—already the world’s top search engine—was an ambitious, powerful company. “This is not a publicity stunt,” said Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder—and later, an early Facebook investor, in a CNN Money article.

But it’s also impressive just how much Google has grown since then—both in its business metrics and its influence over the world. The company will likely cross the 50,000-employee mark this quarter. Google is investing in projects ranging from self-driving cars to artificial intelligence.

Here are five charts that do a pretty good job summarizing Google’s last 10 years as a public company.

A financial success


Google’s revenue has grown to $16 billion last quarter—including $4 billion in operating income—from $800 million the quarter it went public. Google still generates 90% of its sales from advertising—mostly on its owned-and-operated sites, including its search engine, Gmail, and YouTube.

The global search leader


Google’s search engine—its original product—still dominates. When Google went public, it was almost neck-and-neck with Yahoo in search market share, according to comScore. Google has since stabilized at just below 70% share in the US. (The share is higher in most other countries.) Almost no rival companies are chasing.

The dominant mobile platform


Google’s second-most important product—today, at least—is Android, the world’s most popular smartphone platform. Google showed up “late” to the smartphone game in 2008—offering Android as a free rival to handset makers, who had just been stunned by Apple’s iPhone, and could no longer count on Microsoft Windows or Symbian as competitive platforms. But Android has shown unprecedented growth, and could pass 1 billion unit sales this year.

A fast-growing workforce


As Google has prospered, it has invested heavily in its workforce. Besides a flat period during the recent recession, Google has been on a permanent hiring spree. It has added more than 8,000 employees over the past year—excluding Motorola—and is on pace to pass 50,000 employees this quarter. Googlers are working on a wide variety of projects, from Google search and YouTube to self-driving cars and Google Glass.

A solid investment


Google investors have made out huge, too—shares are up more than 1000% from where they debuted 10 years ago. The broader market—reflected by the S&P 500—is up roughly 100% during that period. (Though Apple—Google’s close ally-turned-archrival—would have been an even better investment.)

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